Local Politics

Wake budget cuts to reach 10% next year

Posted December 2, 2008 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2008 7:38 p.m. EST

— As Wake County department heads scramble to find ways to cut 4 percent from their 2009 budgets, county officials said Monday that cuts for the 2010 budget year, which starts next July, will increase to 10 percent.

The county expects to lose $17 million in the coming months slowing economy and deflated housing market eat into sales tax and deed stamp revenue. Cuts by state agencies also will trickle down to the county level, officials said.

"Some departments will have their ox gored. They will lose resources," Commissioner Joe Bryan said.

The Board of Commissioners on Monday asked the Wake County school system to reduce its local funding by $5.7 million. The school board agreed to the request Tuesday.

County officials said some areas may lose more than others, but there likely will be no big winners.

"Se just need to reprioritize and make sure the funds we do have available go to the highest-priority services," Bryan said.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he would do what he can to trim his budget, but he said there are limitations.

"I have the staff looking at things. You know, we're talking about 4 percent. Where do you start with 4 percent?" Harrison said. "Public safety is not going to be jeopardized. I don't know that we'll be able to cut that 10 percent, let me first say that. As long as I'm sheriff, we'll continue the services we can."

Raising taxes to increase revenue and limit cuts is very unlikely in the current economy, officials said.